The government is giving universities the freedom to charge more than 10,000 a year for courses. The current limit is 3,290 pounds. The over-the-top proposal by Lord Browne could result in students leaving school with 80,000 pounds plus in debt.
It is widely believed that the yearly limit does need to be revised, but only to about 7,000 pounds. Vince Cable, secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, and David Willetts, higher education minister, both believe that the current fees schedule needs to be increased.
The increase of fees directly contradicts the belief system of most Liberal Democrats, as several have signed a pledge not to increase any fees. One of those Dems is Sir Menzies Campbell, chancellor of St. Andrew’s University. He commented on the issue, saying: “My root objection is to students being saddled with mountains of debt by the time they leave university.”
The National Union of Students president, Aaron Porter, remarked on the issue, saying: “If this is true, then Browne’s attempt to deliver a free market in higher education is proof that he is seeking to price out the poorer students. The average debt already is in excess of 25,000 pounds.”
He added: “The Lib Dems pledged to vote against higher fees, their party policy is a graduate tax, the coalition agreement states that a student debt is of concern. It is completely inconceivable that the Lib Dems could vote for higher fees without completely losing the trust of students and their families.”
It is believed by others within the higher education system that Lord Browne’s proposals would sap the ambition of many students.